University of California, Riverside

Future Physician Leaders Program



Community Service and Leadership


Community Service and Leadership

Community service is the "heart and soul" of the program with participants expected to be actively engaged in their community. For seven weeks during the summer, students work in teams to design, implement, and evaluate their own Community Health Projects (CHP). Students attend biweekly workshops taught by the FPL CHP coordinator where they learn service leadership and how to develop a community health project.

Community Health Project Background and Purpose

The Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative (CVHI) identified five priority barriers to healthcare access in the Coachella Valley, two of which are a lack of community health education and public awareness of health resources. Specifically, there was a desire among residents to learn more about healthy lifestyles and management of illness such as diabetes and obesity (CVHI Healthcare Access Report, 2010).

A health needs assessment also identified greater community engagement through health education as a need in the Coachella Valley (CVHC, 2007). These community recommendations guided the development of the Community Health Projects component of the Future Physician Leaders program. The purpose of the Community Health Projects is to provide needed services that will improve healthcare and health education access to residents of the Inland Empire.

Community Health Project Curriculum

The curriculum includes a lecture on topics and skills that would be useful to students when developing their projects. Lecture topics range from an overview of the communities (Coachella Valley, San Bernardino, and Riverside), project budgeting and implementation, dissemination of results in academic and community settings, and models of behavior change.

Community Health Project Methodology

Community Health Projects are conducted using a team model with groups of ten or fewer students. Teams are allowed to create their own projects that will provide health education to residents in the community and are required to build community partnerships at the sites where the health education event will occur. Students are provided guidelines, a framework, necessary tools, and assistance to both create and implement their projects.

Community Health Project Deliverables

Each CHP team is required to create a report and a poster. These deliverables are part of the student's training on how to present information to various audiences and using various formats (written reports, poster presentations, and power point presentations).

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